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  • Writer's pictureRabbi Benyamin Bresinger

Chabad Lifeline Leaders Join World's Longest Zoom at Virtual Rabbinic Gathering

Updated: Dec 1, 2020

Each year, Chabad Lifeline sends a delegation to the world’s largest rabbinical conference - the International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries.

This year, with the conference being conducted entirely virtually, the Rabbis joined a virtual Zoom conference, which has since become the world-record longest Zoom meeting, as it lasted well over 133 hours.

The virtual conference united thousands of Chabad-Lubavitch rabbis from all 50 U.S. states and more than 100 countries, from as far away as Laos and Angola, Ghana and Uzbekistan and as close by as Sherbrooke, Mont Tremblant, and Plattsburgh.

Among the themes discussed in the 130-plus-hour call were the importance and immense potential of each individual, which is a key teaching of the Rebbe - Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory - and one with special relevance as in-person gathering has been curtailed during the pandemic; how best to safely serve communities during the ongoing lockdowns; as well as an exchange of ideas on how to celebrate Hanukkah - which begins Dec. 10 - amidst the darkness brought on by the coronavirus.

The call was originally envisioned as a rolling virtual farbrengen - chassidic gathering - that would begin on Saturday night in Australia and make its way around the world as the Sabbath concluded in each time zone. The Zoom call spontaneously continued, with up to 1,000 rabbis from around the world in attendance at any given time.

The International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries was founded in 1983 by the Rebbe - Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. The Rebbe, who is considered the most influential rabbi in modern history, orchestrated a Jewish revival after the Holocaust and built the network of Chabad-Lubavitch institutions that serves millions around the world today.

Over 5,000 Chabad-Lubavitch emissary families continue to realize the Rebbe’s vision of making Judaism accessible to all and providing social activism to the public in order to make the world a better place.

The conference brought added significance as this year marks 70 years since the Rebbe became the "Rebbe," assuming spiritual leadership of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement.

The challenge this year to the rabbis is that the energy had to be shared from a distance, but - as the Zoom conference demonstrated - it has been no less powerful.

“Last week was a transformative experience,” said Chabad Lifeline Director Rabbi Benyamin Bresinger. “The inspiration and practical guidance will aid us in continuing our vital work locally of helping those affected by the pandemic and helping anyone affected by the chaos of addiction."

“The zoom Farbrengen was also an opportunity to exchange ideas and network with other rabbis around the world servicing people in recovery during the pandemic,” Bresinger added. “It rejuvenated us, and has given us the motivation to expand our lifesaving services in the near future.”

Chabad Lifeline Rabbis Ronnie Fine, Benyamin Bresinger, Mendy Bresinger, Mendel Fine, and Zvi Hershcovich have already returned to work with a renewed vibrancy.

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